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Back to School Guidance

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Back to School Guidance 2022-01-24T16:39:01-07:00
School Updates

In order to prioritize the safety of children and school staff, COVID-safe practices are in effect, and masks are required in all school buildings, regardless of vaccination status.

Test to Stay Program

A $64 million grant from the American Rescue Plan through the CDC will provide funding for improved COVID-19 testing and resources at schools. The goal is to limit the length of time a student or staff needs to quarantine after being identified as a close contact. Check with your school for more information.

Need to Quarantine?

The COVID-Response Toolkit contains updated guidelines for when it’s necessary to isolate or test based on symptoms. Or check out this one-page guide.

Vaccine News

The COVID-19 vaccine has been approved and vaccines are ready for distribution for ages 5-11. You can register your child here.

Covid-Safe Practices

CSPs are still in effect! Masks are required inside all school buildings and on school transportation. Masks are recommended but not required while outdoors.

Find more information here.

Why Masks?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, multilayer cloth masks block release of exhaled respiratory particles and can also reduce the wearers’ exposure to infectious droplets.

Below are two recent studies from the CDC that show that universal mask mandates were effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 at schools.

Association Between K–12 School Mask Policies and School-Associated COVID-19 Outbreaks — Maricopa and Pima Counties, Arizona, July–August 2021

Pediatric COVID-19 Cases in Counties With and Without School Mask Requirements — United States, July 1–September 4, 2021

Back to Class

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on education: Students have lost traditional instructional time, and educators have had to pivot, adjust, and learn new instructional strategies over the past school year. The NMPED has developed the Roadmap to Accelerated Learning and Renewal that builds from the lessons we learned through the pandemic as essential elements to renewal and an improved education system for the state.

Are You Connected?

The New Mexico Public Education Department launched NM Student Connect to help students and teachers who currently lack high-speed broadband internet service or devices get access to the internet. The NM Student Connect Help Desk can help eligible students’ households sign up for the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. For info click here or call 1-888-723-4505.

Check out New Mexico’s Roadmap to Accelerated Learning and Renewal

Toolkit Updates

This latest version of the toolkit contains updated quarantine guidelines (Test to Stay) as well as clarifications for commonly asked questions. Changes include:

  • Clarification with examples for quarantine duration
  • Policy for modified quarantine (Test to Stay) for close contacts
  • Addition of Quarantine and Isolation Decision Tree
NMPED Covid-19 Response Toolkit for Public Schools
January 19, 2022

Additional Resources

Archived Resources

School Site Visit Status Forms

January 12, 2022 Toolkit
November 2, 2021 Toolkit
November 1, 2021 Toolkit
September 14, 2021 Toolkit
September 2, 2021 Toolkit
August 24, 2021 Toolkit
August 23, 2021 Toolkit
July 26, 2021 Toolkit

  1. April 22, 2021 – NMDOH: New Mexico K-12 School COVID-19 Testing Program
  2. April 22, 2021 – NMDOH: COVID-19 Testing in New Mexico Schools Training
  3. February 5, 2021 – NMPED: CTE Guidance: In-Person and Hybrid models
  4. January 24, 2021 – NMPED: Support for High School Seniors During SY 2020-2021
  5. December 7, 2020 – NMPED: Family Engagement Guidance
  6. November 10, 2020 – NMPED: School Activities: Guidance During the Covid-19 Pandemic
  7. October 5, 2020 – NMPED: Science Lab & Materials Safety
  8. October 5, 2020 – NMPED: Classroom Math Materials Safety
  9. October 2, 2020 – NMPED: New Mexico Outdoor Learning
  10. September 11, 2020 – NMPED: Guidance for Librarians
  11. August 7, 2020 – NMPED: Guidance for Schools on Tribal Lands
  12. August 5, 2020 – NMPED: NMPED Reentry Webinar Series
  13. August 4, 2020 – NMPED: Memorandum Regarding Staff Reporting During Remote Learning
  14. July 30, 2020 – NMPED: Guidance on Attendance Policies for Reentry
  15. July 29, 2020 – NMPED: Guidance for Supporting English Learners and Bilingual Multicultural Programming During Reentry
  16. July 29, 2020 – NMPED: Guidance for Supporting Native American Students
  17. July 29, 2020 – NMPED: Guidance on Educator Evaluation for School year 2020-2021
  18. July 28, 2020 – NMPED: Guidance for Pre-K Programming During Reentry
  19. July 27, 2020 – NMPED: Guidance for Remote Instruction
  20. July 20, 2020 – NMPED: Comprehensive Instructional Support Including Priority Standards for Reentry
  21. July 13, 2020 – NMPED: Guidance for Special Education upon Reentry
  22. July 10, 2020 – NMPED: Guidance for Virtual Classroom Considerations
  23. July 9, 2020 – NMPED: Graduation Guidance for Hybrid and Remote Learning
  24. July 8, 2020 – NMPED: Guidance for Instructional Acceleration
  25. July 8, 2020 – NMPED: Guidance on Formative Assessment and Identifying Learning Needs upon Reentry
  26. July 8, 2020 – NMPED: Guidance on Grading Policies for Reentry
  27. July 6, 2020 – NMPED: Supporting Student Teachers During Reentry
  28. July 6, 2020 – NMPED: CTE Guidance for Reentry

Please direct all health related inquiries to 1-855-600-3453
Para assistencia con situaciónes de salud pública y coronavirus, llamada 1-855-600-3453

For education related inquiries, please call the PED at 505-827-5800
Para assistencia con situaciónes educación, llamada 505-827-5800

OSERS/OSEP will continue to work with state and local leaders to identify any additional areas where it can provide information to support stakeholders in their important work.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit:

ED COVID-19 Information and Resources

U.S. Government COVID-19 Information and Resources

Page last updated January 24, 2022